Farmers affected by Bulusan eruption get free seeds, tools

By Connie Calipay


The Department of Agriculture in Bicol (DA-5) on Monday, June 13, said it has started giving various interventions to farmers in the provincial and municipal local government units (LGUs) of Sorsogon who are affected by the continuing unrest of Mt. Bulusan.


Emily Bordado, DA-5 spokesperson, said an initial P490,625 worth of assistance has been distributed to a total of 186 affected farmers.


“The High-Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) initially distributed assistance consisting of vegetable seeds and two units of power sprayers each to the LGUs of the municipalities at the foot of Mt. Bulusan, namely: Juban, Bulusan, Irosin, and one unit in Casiguran, to help in spraying off volcanic ashes from agricultural crops,” Bordado said in an interview.


She said DA-5 also delivered to the Sorsogon Dairy Farm 10 plastic drums, 50 laminated sacks, 50 sets of garden tools, five water hoses, and two units of power sprayers.


Likewise, under the agency’s livestock program, medicines such as antibiotics, vitamins, dewormers, mineral blocks, disinfectants, and antiseptics were given to the Sorsogon Provincial Veterinary Office for the wound treatment and supplementation of large ruminants around the 4-kilometer danger zone.


“Deworming and vitamin injection of livestock was conducted by the Provincial Veterinary Office of Sorsogon in the barangays of Puting Sapa and Buraburan in Juban led by Dr. John Ashley De Castro, provincial veterinarian. The program also turned over ropes together with drugs and biologics to the Municipal Agriculture Offices of five Sorsogon towns,” a report from DA-5 added.


It noted that ashfall from the volcano’s phreatic explosions has resulted in total production losses of P2.6 million covering high-value crops and fisheries.


“Out of this, 36.80 hectares were totally damaged and with no chance of recovery, while 63.75 hectares of abaca plantation were also damaged with the volume of production loss of 15.94 metric tons valued at P1 million,” Bordado said.


She added that they are continuously monitoring and validating the affected areas in coordination with the LGUs and the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Office of Sorsogon.


Meanwhile, after a complete decampment last June 8, the Office of Civil Defense in Bicol (OCD-5) reported that there are 105 families or 343 individuals, who are now back in three evacuation centers after another phreatic eruption happened at Mt. Bulusan at 3:37 AM on June 12.


Alexis Gremil Naz, OCD-5 spokesperson, said the families affected by ashfall are from 14 barangays -- Puting Sapa, Anog, Nuraburan, Cataanusan, Bacolod, Rangas, Calateo, Sipaya, and Aroroy, all in Juban town; and Mabini, Inlagadian, San Juan, Escuala and Tigbao in Casiguran town.


As of now, 2,877 families are affected by ashfall which is equivalent to 11,305 individuals.


“Areas with traces of ashfall were also reported in portions of Sorsogon City, Castilla town, portions of Pilar, Casiguran, and Magallanes,” Naz said.


The Department of Social Welfare Development (DSWD) regional office assured the families that the agency will continue to provide them with food packs and hygiene kits.


Based on the DSWD data as of June 13, a total of P732,200 worth of assistance has been distributed to the victims.


Also, Department of Public Works and Highways-Bicol (DPWH-5) spokesperson Lucy Castañeda said maintenance crew and equipment were deployed for the clearing operations to ensure national roads and bridges affected by the latest eruption are all passable.


“Our Regional Director Virgilio Eduarte instructed Sorsogon 1st and 2nd district offices for the clearing operations of road network affected. We also sent a water truck from our regional office and Albay 2nd district office. He also requested additional provisions of water trucks from the Bureau of Equipment of our central office,” Castañeda said in an interview.


The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said Sunday’s phreatic eruption resulted from shallow hydrothermal activity.


The volcanic activity lasted 18 minutes, but Phivolcs said the eruption plume was not visible on the camera monitors. (PNA)